Newcastle, Setting the [small] bar high

Newcastle, Setting the [small] bar high

06 March 2024

Offbeat and quirky bars are dotted all around inner-city Newcastle, each serving up its own unique atmosphere, menu, and ethos.

Whether you seek a quiet tipple in a cosy corner, a dramatic cocktail under chandeliers, or some upbeat tunes with casual banter, Newcastle's eclectic and exciting small bar scene is thriving and ready to welcome you in.

If you're not sure where to start, here's a list of some local favourites:

Mad Poet

Mad Poet is a new addition to the West End bar scene with a determined focus on good wine and charcuterie, but above all it's about the music.

Mad Poet at its heart is a listening bar, where the vinyl is spun, and the conversations flow over a glass or two of wine. Think Japan 1950. But if wine isn't your thing, there's all the usuals too, like classic cocktails and local beers on tap.

And you can't go past the alcoholic sorbet for a fresh take on a dessert menu - Strawberry Margarita! Oh my. 

Find them: 537 Hunter Street. Just up from Charlie's Rooftop.
Enjoy: Thursday through to Saturday.


Seek out gyoza and bespoke cocktails at Japanese-inspired speakeasy, The Koutetsu. Australian gins and Japanese whiskeys dominate the cocktail list while mixologists can whip up custom drinks to suit individual palettes - while happily chatting away to the folks lucky enough to snag a seat at the bar.

Intimate and moody, it's one of life's pleasures to just sit at Koutetsu's bar, nibble on some wasabi peas, and watch the cocktails pour.

Find them: 555 Hunter Street. A few doors down from Mad Poet.
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Saturday.

The Underground

New York jazz bar vibes in the heart of Newcastle's East, The Underground is dark, atmospheric, and full of unexpected energy. Enter via the steps on Bolton Street beneath the historic Grand Hotel to get the full underground bar experience.

Any time of the week is great, but we particularly recommend one of The Underground's regular jazz nights, for something truly memorable.

Find them: Bolton Street Access. Underneath The Grand Hotel.
Enjoy: Tuesday through to Saturday.

Jams Karaoke and Bar

Jam's Karaoke is the perfect spot to pull up a stool at and let the karaoke tunes take you over. Friday nights feature live band karaoke sessions for the ultra-immersion karaoke experience. Or if the main stage isn't your thing, a private room experience, complete with in-room bar service is perfect for small and larger groups alike.

Sake, whisky, cocktails, and beer are all on offer, as well as late night izakaya street foods. Gather your crew for this one.

Find them: 8 Union Street. Next door to Rogue Scholar.
Enjoy: Thursday through to Saturday.


Glamorous 1920s-inspired bar, Bartholomew’s is housed within the theatrical 1903 Methodist Mission Building on King Street.

Once inside, you'll be transported to an era of decadence and indulgence as you sit amongst the atmospheric chandeliers and luxurious lounges. Stop by to savour signature cocktails and world-renowned whiskies, plus savour a host of fresh local ingredients from the bar menu.

Find them: 145 King Street. Opposite Susuru Ramen & Gyoza
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Sunday.

Falcon Bar

An East End favourite, the Falcon Bar dishes up southern state inspired comfort food, craft beers and stellar cocktails, plus a curated collection of local, national, and international wines.

Slide into one of Falcon's cosy booths or sit up at the bar and let the Falcon team show you some good old fashioned southern hospitality…Newcastle style, of course.

Find them: 10 Pacific Street. Opposite Pacific Park.
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Sunday.


Lovers of 90s & 00s hip hop nostalgia, Uptowns Bar is your jam. Most nights you'll find live DJs pumping out classic RNB and dance tunes, while arcade games get a run on the custom console tables.

Heading out with a group? Reserve the mini basketball court for some old school laughs. After something low key? You can do that too at Uptowns.

Sit back and admire the enviable sneaker and basketball card collection, while you soak up the vibes with your 90s themed cocktail. 

Find them: 6/23 Watt Street, Newcastle. Near Lock's Paddock.
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Sunday.

Coal and Cedar

Hidden behind a barbershop wall in one of Newcastle’s many heritage buildings, is prohibition-style speakeasy Coal and Cedar.

On arrival, text a code to the number at the door, then leave Newcastle as-you-know-it behind. Once ushered inside, vintage vibes, moody lighting, and backlit liquor set the scene. Sweet, sour, light or dark, the experienced bartenders can create any concoction from the epic whisky and liquor selection.

Find them: 380 Hunter Street. Behind the Lincoln Room Barber. Entry by passcode.
Enjoy: Monday through to Saturday.

Blue Kahunas

Blue Kahunas is chilled-out tropical at its best - bamboo furniture, fishing nets, leis and the best of Tiki culture awaits. So, if you're into rum and cocktails, and are keen to soak up some tropical tunes in the heart of Newcastle, Blue Kahunas is for you.

Vibrant and casual, this approachable and inclusive bar is a local favourite for a reason - it's fun, it's colourful, it's the best sort of fruity.

Find them: 3/146 Hunter Street. Just along from Ka-fey Café.
Enjoy: Tuesday through to Sunday.

Castle Del Mar

Taking inspiration from the salty Newcastle Beach breezes that drift through its doors, Castle del Mar is a premium cocktail house that boasts an extensive selection of spirits, wines, ciders and beers.

Depending on the night, the house DJ can have you up from your seat and on the dancefloor, or you might prefer to nestle into a booth, soak up the table service, and savour their local providore treats.

Find them: 31 King Street. Opposite Good Brother Espresso
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Sunday.

Charlie's Rooftop

Charlie's Rooftop is a Palm Springs inspired bar bringing Californian chic to Newcastle's small bar scene. Sundowners on the rooftop, DJs spinning the tunes, dinner-date with your fave, cocktails with the crew - this laidback, sunshine paradise bar can do it all.

Plus, the rooftop is fully undercover, so you can enjoy the Newcastle skyline no matter the weather.

Find them: 529 Hunter Street. Between Mad Poet and Granddad's Bar.
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Sunday.

Granddad's Bar

Granddad Jack's Craft Distillery brings its exclusive range of gin, whiskey, coffee liqueur, and vodka to Hunter Street. The cocktail list has been curated with Newcastle in mind, so out-of-towners, you might want to get a rundown on the inside jokes from the Granddad's team while they pour your tipple.

Granddad's Bar is all about celebrating their unique spirits, so the food, well they do things a little bit differently. It's BYO. Yep, bring your own, Uber eats, whatever, it's up to you.

Find them: 515 Hunter Street. Just up from Charlie's Rooftop.
Enjoy: Wednesday through to Sunday.

Bar Mellow

Inside the historic Bank Corner building, Bar Mellow is a chilled-out wine bar in Newcastle's West End. More than just a wine bar, the cocktail list is well worth exploring, especially if you're a martini fan.

The team also host regular jazz and trivia nights, so Bar Mellow is perfect for settling-in and really making a night of it. Oh, and their selection of cured and smoked meats, deli cheeses, and fresh linguine - well now you're talking.

Find them: 744 Hunter Street. Not far from Bank Corner Espresso.
Enjoy: Tuesday through to Saturday.